Oncologist R. Ravi Kannan of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre wins 2023 Ramon Magsaysay award

Citation says the CCHRC became a comprehensive facility under Dr. Kannan’s leadership, revolutionising cancer treatment in Assam through people-centric and pro-poor healthcare

September 01, 2023 03:45 am | Updated 07:14 am IST - CHENNAI

Surgical oncologist R. Ravi Kannan. File

Surgical oncologist R. Ravi Kannan. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Surgical oncologist R. Ravi Kannan, Director of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) in Assam, is one of the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees for 2023. He is credited with revolutionising cancer treatment in Assam through people-centric and pro-poor healthcare.

Dr. Kannan hails from Chennai, where he earlier worked at the Cancer Institute, Adyar, before moving to Silchar in 2007. He became the Director of the CCHRC in that year.

According to the citation on the website of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, under Dr. Kannan’s leadership, the CCHRC became a full-fledged comprehensive cancer hospital and research centre. From having limited facilities when he came on board, the hospital now has 28 departments covering oncology, pathology, radiology, microbiology, epidemiology, tumour registry, and palliative care. From 23 personnel, the hospital now employs 451 persons.

The hospital introduced pro-poor initiatives such as free treatment, food and lodging, ad hoc employment for caregivers, and a homecare programme as patients could not continue their treatment due to difficulty in travelling long distances, and cost, with the underlying reason being poverty. Hospital team members travelled long distances to train family members in pain management and palliative care, and provided free medicines. As a result, patient compliance rate in treatment rose from 28% to 70%.

The CCHRC now provides free or subsidised cancer care treatment to an average of 5,000 new patients annually, catering to approximately 20,000 poor patients for treatments and follow-ups, the citation read.

Dr. Kannan said the award belongs to all who had joined hands to make the lives of those suffering from cancer better. He said they were now focussing on “decentralising cancer care by setting up smaller hospitals in different parts of the State and also in Tripura so that people do not have to travel far to reach a hospital for treatment”.

Satellite clinics have been started in Karimganj, Hailakandi, and Dima Hasao districts, he said. “We have to go near people and focus on prevention, treatment, and cancer care. We need a lot of support for infrastructure and equipment, which are one-time investments, but what we need most is human resources, which is a recurring requirement,” Dr. Kannan, who is also a recipient of the Padma Shri award, said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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